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Groundbreakers: the cars that did it first

Autocar Logo By Richard Dredge of Autocar | Slide 1 of 77: Since Autocar has been around since 1895, we’ve covered nearly all of them in detail across our history. But in nearly every case, a particular innovation that moved the automotive world on a step arrived in one particular production car for the first time.In this latest edition of our long-running series, we’ll tell you about the first car to have a V8, to have reversing lights, air conditioning, and even that tiny but oh-so-useful arrow which reminds you which side your fuel filler cap is on. For this update we’ve dug up a whole bunch of new and interesting innovations to savour and dropped a few of the less notable.As usual, we’ve rated all of them with a groundbreaker score out of 10 – this rates the long-term impact of the technology: the higher the number, the greater the impact. It’s not a rating of the car itself, or how successful it was; indeed, some of these cars proved too ahead of their time. But they all started something, and usually something that made driving better. We salute them all. It’s quite a journey, so climb aboard:

The car as we know it today is the result of thousands of innovations over the years.

Since Autocar has been around since 1895, we’ve covered nearly all of them in detail across our history. But in nearly every case, a particular innovation that moved the automotive world on a step arrived in one particular production car for the first time.

In this latest edition of our long-running series, we’ll tell you about the first car to have a V8, to have reversing lights, air conditioning, and even that tiny but oh-so-useful arrow which reminds you which side your fuel filler cap is on. For this update we’ve dug up a whole bunch of new and interesting innovations to savour and dropped a few of the less notable.

As usual, we’ve rated all of them with a groundbreaker score out of 10 – this rates the long-term impact of the technology: the higher the number, the greater the impact. It’s not a rating of the car itself, or how successful it was; indeed, some of these cars proved too ahead of their time. But they all started something, and usually something that made driving better. We salute them all. It’s quite a journey, so climb aboard:

© Daimler

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